Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Coming soon - (almost) live video from space

"There's something that astronauts have that's described as the overview effect," says Wade Larson, co-founder of Urthecast. "They often get very philosophical, and even emotional, when they describe this effect when they step out of the Earth's gravitational pull, and looking back and seeing what the planet looks like. It's a sense of connectedness and you know, the big picture in the sense of ecological fragility."

A company called Urthecast will send HD video cameras up to the International Space Station soon. The cameras will send streaming "almost-live" video using two cameras.

The first is a medium resolution camera which will just monitor the Earth. The second is an HD video camera that will take short videos as the ISS heads past specific regions, about 150 a day.
The resolution of the images and videos is similar to Google Earth. The videos will be search-able, so you can find them by location, video type or theme. The website will even have a tracking feature where you can check when the cameras will next be visiting your area.

"You come to the website and you will be able to see exactly where the space station is right now, and you will know when it will come over you," Larson said. "You can start doing interesting social stuff, you can get your friends out in a field and spell something out."

The data will take anywhere from a half hour to a few hours to be downloaded, processed and put on the website, where it will be free to view.

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